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7 The Honorable Ambassador

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

NAMED FOR THE COUNT OF PEÑALVA, EL CONDE STREET IN Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic is a cobblestone pedestrian road that stretches from the Parque Colón to the Parque Independencia. On the morning of March 8, 1962, young demonstrators, angry that two alleged enemies of the people had been allowed refuge on American soil, ranged up and down this popular shopping district, smashing windows, wrecking storefronts, and looting merchandise. Spying a car belonging to the new U.S. ambassador, whose driver had gone to a Spanish tailor’s shop to pick up a white linen suit for the diplomat to wear when he officially presented his credentials the following day at the National Palace, the mob pulled the driver from his seat, then smashed and burned the automobile. They went on to torch two other vehicles belonging to the U.S. government and attacked the school the ambassador’s two sons attended. The boys watched from their upstairs classroom window as the demonstrators, brandishing chains and manhole covers, tore down the American flag and wrecked the school’s first floor before finally being driven away by two truckloads of Dominican soldiers armed with machine guns. Realizing the danger, adults at the school quickly hustled the boys away from the scene, and they escaped unscathed.1

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Appendix: Robert F. Kennedy’s Speech in Indianapolis, April 4, 1968

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

Appendix: Robert F. Kennedy’s
Speech in Indianapolis, April 4, 1968

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening, because I have some very sad news for all of you. Could you lower those signs, please? I have some very sad news for all of you, and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world; and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort.

In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it’s perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black—considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible—you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization—black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.

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5 The Campaign

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

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The Campaign

As a young boy growing up in Angola, Indiana, Bill Munn took an active role in his family’s support of the Democratic Party. Wearing a tiny straw hat, Munn handed out pamphlets urging people to vote for Adlai Stevenson in his 1956 presidential run against incumbent Dwight D. Eisenhower. Four years later, Munn’s father served as coordinator of John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in Steuben County. When Lyndon Johnson battled Republican Barry Goldwater for the presidency in 1964, Munn went door-to-door handing out brochures extolling Johnson’s candidacy in a county that was a hotbed of GOP activity on Goldwater’s behalf. “By the time I went off to college,” said Munn, “I already had a lot of political experience.”

At Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, Munn decided to major in political science and history. “When I got to Ball State, I’d go anyplace to a [political] meeting. I’d love to hear people talk about politics,” he said. In the spring of 1968, as many of his friends became enthralled by Eugene McCarthy’s stand against the war in Vietnam, Munn found himself attracted to Robert Kennedy’s advocacy on behalf of African Americans and working people. “McCarthy had done a great service in tackling Johnson,” Munn said, “but he was like a one-horse candidate, and I never did quite figure out if he was opposed to Johnson or opposed to the war.” Munn volunteered to aid Kennedy’s attempt to win Indiana’s sixty-three delegates to the national Democratic convention by running in the state’s May 7 primary.

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7 The Train

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

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The Train

The call came to the home of Anthony M. Boysa, a fireman for the Penn Central Railroad, at eight o’clock the morning of Friday, June 8, 1968, from a crew dispatcher in Newark, New Jersey. Boysa had been assigned to a twenty-one-car train pulled by two black electric locomotives scheduled to leave New York on Saturday from Pennsylvania Station for a 226-mile journey to Union Station in Washington, D.C. “They told us when they called us up to dress special—but I didn’t stay clean long,” Boysa said. “When you walk through the aisles in the engine, you brush past all the motor casings.” He remembered that the train’s engineer came to work that day in a suit with a white shirt and tie. “That was unusual,” said Boysa. Supervisors and laborers worked most of the day Friday at the Sunnyside Yards loading the train with provisions for its trip, including steaks, hamburgers, and cheesecake. The train, with an observation car at the rear draped in black bunting, finally left Pennsylvania Station at 1:02 PM Saturday. Onboard were nearly a thousand people—the family and friends of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who had died two days earlier, another victim that violent year of an assassin’s bullets.1

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4 The Big Slicks

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

FOR MILLIONS OF VETERANS FOLLOWING THE END OF WORLD War II, their return home resembled what they had gone through upon their induction into military service: long waits in long lines. On Friday, February 16, 1946, after filling out the necessary paperwork at an army separation center at Camp Ulysses S. Grant near Rockford, Illinois, John Bartlow Martin achieved what he had been seeking for many months: discharge from the U.S. Army status as a civilian. He took a train to Chicago and by 8:00 PM was back home in Winnetka with his wife, Fran, and daughter, Cindy. Upon walking through the front door, Martin hugged his wife and turned to hug his daughter, and then the three of them embraced one another.1

Before returning home, Martin had written to Fran outlining his plans for the future. Someone had asked him what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, and Martin had responded, “I told him – and meant it and rather surprised him and perhaps myself – I wanted to be happy with you, then wanted to write well, then wanted to make a lot of money. In that order. (The order of the last two isn’t quite as simple as it appears; it just means that I think I can make a very comfortable living AND write well, and if so I’d rather do it than write lousy and make a whole lot of money).” Martin added that he would take care of the final two items, but they were meaningless unless “you make me happy. And the best way to ensure that is for me to work a bit on making you happy. So that’s what I’m going to [do].”2

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